I signed up with Soma six months ago on a one year contract they were advertising as a ""Recession Special"". The guy at the front desk mentioned ""if you move out of state it's no big deal"" and I remember laughing, telling him there was no chance of that. Little did I know. I lost my job just a few months later and after a few more months of looking, decided it made the most sense to move home and regroup.
Here's how they've treated me since I asked to cancel my membership. First the manager David assured me there was nothing I could do but pay the FOUR MONTH PENALTY FEE to get out of the contract. I tried to explain to him that I was moving out of state but he simply read me the contract (how helpful!) over the phone. I asked if I had my former employer send a letter confirming the business had closed if that could help. He replied ""I can't make any promises but you can try if you like"" Well, I liked.
My letter plus many followup phone calls got my penalty fee lowered to two months (almost $200). By this time I was tired of arguing. I agreed although it seemed unfair. At this point David said, okay, so when you pay the penalty you can get out of the contract, but you must do it before the 3rd because that's the day we automatically deduct your monthly charge. I tried to clarify, ""I need to come up with $200 before the 3rd or you'll keep deducting membership fees from my card?"" Yes, this was the situation. I repeated to him my reasons for canceling: ""I lost my job, I'm moving, money is tight, but let me get this clear, you're telling me that if I can't come up with the fee in full I can't cancel the membership? That was correct. I explained that this couldn't work for me, suggested he bill me for the fee and stop monthly payments immediately, but he said there was ""Nothing he could do."" You must have dealt with this kind of situation before, I asked, but he said he'd never heard of someone unable to come up with the whole fee. I just couldn't believe him. After I kind of freaked out on the phone he said he ""might be able to do something"" but he ""wasn't making any promises"" and he'd have to get back to me. Finally we worked out that he'd stop the membership charge and I'd pay him his lousy fee over the next two months.
Throughout these conversations he mentioned several times that he didn't want to press my situation further with the owners because they were getting ""annoyed"" with him. It seems odd this guy is supposedly the ""manager"" but has no authority whatsoever, and can't even figure out how collect the penalty fee in a reasonable way. I'm pretty ""annoyed"" as well.
Is it that hard to give someone a break?